The Administration

Why the Chicago teachers strike matters in November

Events have overtaken the news appeal of the Chicago teachers union strike as the public’s attention has rightfully moved on to Libya, Egypt and even perhaps the Federal Reserve’s QE3 announcement.
However, the Chicago public employee strike has the potential to be as damaging to Obama’s election campaign as anything else on the news horizon.


Obama’s long-term blessing

Many people regret electing President Obama because of the realization that his policies have led to the decline of our nation. However, it is quite possible that his election is the best thing that has happened to our nation in a very long time. The consequences of such an election have served to awaken the spirit of America and have helped us realize that this is a free nation of independent people who are not driven by government policy.


Hillary’s brother back in the news

Hillary Clinton’s brothers, Tony and Hugh, were often entertaining, sometimes alarming White House presences, but they had largely disappeared from public view as their brother-in-law left the White House and their older sister became U.S. senator and then secretary of State.

So I took note when I read Mark Leibovich’s admiring, even loving, profile of Bill Clinton’s best buddy, the irrepressible Terry McAuliffe. (The long profile of the former president’s fundraiser/rescuer extraordinaire appears in next Sunday’s New York Times magazine but is available online).


A terrorist by any other name …

This week, the Obama administration paid for a Gamaa Islamiya terrorist to visit America. They invited him into the State Department and the White House, where he met high-ranking officials.

He should never have gotten into America, let alone meet the deputy secretary of State!


A first-rate politician with calculated future risk

Obama's recent declaration of his new immigration deportation policy might not be legal, but it is certainly a home run in the realm of political maneuvering. This man is one of the best and most ruthless politicians we have witnessed in modern politics. This is the very reason he occupies the Oval Office. The president knew that Sen. Rubio was making tremendous progress in a bipartisan fashion with this very issue of immigration reform. Rubio has said repeatedly that he wants to cast the GOP as the party of legal immigration, even as he has warned other Republicans that their rhetoric is hurting the party’s efforts to reach out to Hispanic voters.


Dwight Eisenhower, antihero

Most interesting in the case of the controversial Frank Gehry memorial to Dwight Eisenhower is that it has brought Ike, our great heartland warrior, back to the popular front in the face of strong opposition from establishment figures and government councils. Ike is again a folk hero, the new man for our times; but this time an antihero rising against the establishment.

And that would make sense given his famous last words: “We pray that peoples of all faiths, all races, all nations, may have their great human needs satisfied; that those now denied opportunity shall come to enjoy it to the full; that all who yearn for freedom may experience its spiritual blessings; that those who have freedom will understand, also, its heavy responsibilities; that all who are insensitive to the needs of others will learn charity; that the scourges of poverty, disease and ignorance will be made to disappear from the earth; and that, in the goodness of time, all peoples will come to live together in a peace guaranteed by the binding force of mutual respect and love.”


Obama needs to show his Kansas side

President Obama has been hijacked by those on the cultural left who live on the edge of the woods and those lost long and vengeful in the dark forest. Lady Gaga’s "controversial" “Judas” performance projects onto Obama. Frank Gehry, of the army of post-war artists and academics lost on the path to transfiguration, reflects on Obama. Every Hollywood narcissist whose time has passed who raises cash for BHO reflects on him whenever she enters rehab. BHO needs an overhaul, and not another queer eye for the straight guy. He needs to rediscover his Kansas roots.


Obama the hawk

The New York Times has another story of President Obama's forcefulness in the face of national security challenges — the second this week. Today's issue contains a report about Obama ordering cyberattacks on Iran, and the 6,000-word opus the Times ran on Tuesday about Obama's drone campaign is still on the lips of everyone in Washington. A must-read indeed.

Think what you will about the burgeoning use of drone strikes to kill terrorists, the cost, efficacy and sustainability of such a warfare program, the story includes fascinating political revelations as well. To start with, Obama's declaration on day two in office that he would close Guantanamo Bay within one year was not only a goal that would turn out to be impossible, but Obama didn't even expect closing Gitmo to be hard. So ignorant to the political realities of his promise was Obama that he ignored the advice of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Attorney General Eric Holder that they might get started lobbying Congress on the issue. They were told no, that healthcare reform was the higher priority.


A portrait of a president 8 years ago: When George & Laura hosted Bill & Hillary

When I was writing a book about Bill Clinton’s post-presidency, I tracked down every artist I could find who painted Bill. One of them was Simmie Knox, son of a sharecropper and the first African-American commissioned to paint the official White House portrait of a president. Knox told me about his boyhood on a plantation/farm and the segregated schools he attended.

In June 2004 in the East Room at the Bush White House — like now, the country in the midst of a mean reelection campaign — Knox’s portraits of Bill and Hillary, then U.S. senator from New York, were unveiled. I wrote in my book that President Bush won over the Clintons with his greeting, “Welcome home,” and reminded the assembled that he and his father call each other “41” and “43.” Turing to Clinton, Bush said, “We’re glad you’re here, 42.” That was the start of a thaw that produced a genuine and continuing friendship between 41 and 42. When the then-president mentioned Clinton’s mother, Virginia Kelley, and “the incredible pride” she would have felt that morning — she had died in 1994 — he brought the former president to tears.


Obama’s transparency joke

Al Kamen’s “In the Loop” column in The Washington Post reports that even though Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton only shows up 33 times on the White House logs over the past three years, her spokesman says Clinton has actually made 681 trips to the White House.

The obvious question that follows is that if signing into the White House visitor logs is routinely ignored for, as Kamen called them, “bigwigs” who most often get waved in, are they a legitimate tool for the public to learn which lobbyists are camping out in the White House doing business?